The Boy Who Climbed into the Moon by David Almond. Illustrated by Polly Dunbar (Canada) - (USA)
Pages: 119 pages
Finished: May 24, 2010
First Published: Apr. 13, 2010
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Genre: children, magical realism
Some time ago, there was a rather lonely boy named Paul who lived in a city in the north of England.
Acquired: Received a review copy from Candlewick Press.
Reason for Reading: I have actually never read David Almond before and the title of this book grabbed me and gave me my chance to finally read him.
A whimsical story full of the unbelievable where a lonely boy who lives in a basement apartment, is rather shy, and does not like school but then school does not like him either takes a day off learns about living life to the fullest through a set of quirky characters and fantastical events.
One must set reality aside for this story. The people and events that Paul meets up with are beyond belief. The book is a joy to read; told with such whimsy it is a very endearing story. Paul is encouraged to say what he's always wanted to say and out he spurts that the moon is really just a whole in the sky. He manages to climb into the moon where he finds all sorts of people and things that have flown into it over the ages: hot air balloons, planes, helicopters and their pilots, people with wings who tried to fly and even a girl who was a human cannonball. With the encouragement of the denizens of the apartment building he makes friends, realizes everyone agrees that sausages are better than war, watches others plan a Great Expedition, and sees how the others live their lives, however obscure, to the best they can.
If you can't leave reality outside the door this won't be the book for you but if you can you will be in for a delightful story which is profusely illustrated with drawings as whimsical as the story. The characters are a motley crew from a man who switches to speaking in only vowels when he's in a conversational mood, to a dog who believes that when he obtains the age of seven he will grow wings and the ability to speak, to a little girl who lives inside the moon because she ended up there one night whilst performing her job as Fortuna the Human Cannonball. I found as I read and looked at the pictures that I kept thinking the style of the story was so much like William Pene duBois, a classic children's author/illustrator. I can also see this making a very good read aloud. The story is quirky, unconventional and humorous.